Posts in Poems
Substance & Shadow

There is a bareness in the images I temper time with in my mind’s defence;
They hold their own, their stubborn secrecies;
A gannet’s plunge, a heron by a pond, a last rook homing as the sun goes down, a spider squatting on a bracken-frond, and thistles in a cornsheaf’s tufted crown, a boulder on a hillside, lichen-stained, the sparks of sun on dripping icicles, their durable significance contained in texture, colour, shape and nothing else.

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PoemsPhil Harrison
Post Script

Those verses surfaced thirty years ago when the time seemed edging to a better time,
most public voices tamed,
those loud untamed as seasonal as tawdry pantomime,
and over my companionable land placenames still lilted like a childhood rime.

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PoemsPhil Harrison
Ulster Names

I take my stand by the Ulster Names,
each clean hard name like a weathered stone;
Tyrella, Rostrevor, are flickering flames:
the names I mean are the Moy,
Malone, Strabane, Slieve Gullion and Portglenone.

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PoemsPhil Harrison
Once Alien Here

Once alien here my fathers built their house,
claimed, drained, and gave the land the shapes of use,
and for their urgent labour grudged no more
than shuffled pennies from the hoarded store
of well rubbed words that had left their overtones
in the ripe England of the mounded downs.

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PoemsPhil Harrison